November 30, 2012

Six Sigma vs Deming Philosophy

Six Sigma vs. Deming's Philosophy

This is supposed to be part of an assessed writing but can't help but get into the freedom that a blog gives you. If anything , it brings out the aspects of a study that is much forgotten in the sombre setting of a classroom .This post would majorly look at reflecting on the mini project the experience as a whole during the Quality, reliability & Maintenance module.

I have been one of the people who have always considered quality systems to be a necessary waste and that six sigma, lean , TQM etc were nothing more that fashionable terms used to make the other person in the room look inferior. But was I in for a shock during the few exercises in the seminars. The case study of the textile defect was so engrossing; it kept us talking about it way beyond the classroom. Have started to realize that quality systems are nothing more than a structure of logical requirements that are required to ensure business excellence.

During the mini project discussion on six sigma, we were stunned when we realized that the case studies which we had all taken as sparkling examples had all faltered upon either management or environmental change. Xerox, Bank of America, GE, Chrysler, Delta Airlines etc had all stumbled when either the leadership or constancy of purpose kept coming back. We were given hard knocks to remember Deming's foundation principles. It is as such that when a company starts tasting success withy initiatives like SIx sigma , it takes for granted the basics such as the vision , leadership , elimination of barriers. In retrospect, I could not find one example where six-sigma had been implemented and the company could weather any kind of market. Hence, the limitation of six sigma as a problem solving is very evident. This has been the bane of quality systems where, the short term issues overshadow the long term goals.

Also, initially we found comparing & contrasting Deming's philosophy with Six sigma was introspective on our perception of these techniques. Six-sigma seemed to only mirror the PDCA cycle of Deming. It was evident after the discussion; any one of the 14 principles would not survive the test of time by themselves. Sustainability demanded that all the principles be adhered if at all blindly if not otherwise to ensure that the company has a constancy of purpose in an ever changing environment. This does not mean the company has to be firm and stick to its guns but rather constantly reinvent itself without losing sight of its long term goals. A vision has to be the driver and not the picture on the CEO's wall that no one looks at.

Well, I could ramble on & on about these things, but the crux is that I have a changed perspective on Quality systems. I am not intimidated by them anymore & am actually picking up literature on Deming that I want to read (not during this weekend though!)

Party on friends, been a worthy week !!

Cheers !

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